Wish I was there

Tour of Britain: stage 4 worthy of praise

Reading the national press this morning, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Thursday's stage of the Tour of Britain between Rotherham and Bradford was a complete disaster. Because some jobsworth at North Yorkshire Council decided that the riders didn't have the correct papers to race on the 20 miles of road that went through the county, the race was neutralised for those miles and, predictably, that was the story that made the news this morning.

My perspective on the stage is somewhat different, though. I have to say first off that I wasn't even in Yorkshire yesterday, though I wish I had been. Unfortunately, the deadline for our latest issue fell yesterday and I, and the rest of the staff, were holed up in our Marylebone office until nine in the evening. But by that time my own perspective on the Yorkshire stage was rather different to the one in the papers.

Emails we received from readers during the course of the evening told of a fantastic day, great crowds and superb racing. Later on I spoke to friends who live in Ilkley - which is where I live too, with a view across the town to the climb of the Cow and Calf - and they backed up what our readers had been telling us. The crowds were enthusiastic and no one watching was in the least bit bothered about the 20 neutralised miles earlier in the day.

Sadly, little of this enthusiasm made it into the press this morning and anyone who wasn't on the route through West Yorkshire would have read their paper and thought: "Tour of Britain? Chaotic as usual." I admit that I thought it might be chaotic because of the length of the post-stage transfers, but our features ed Daniel was on the opening three stages and said it all ran smoothly through some stunning countryside and in great weather.

There is no doubt Britain now has riders to be proud of. But perhaps it has a race to be proud of too. From what I've heard, I certainly think so.

© BikeRadar 2007

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